Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone Scheme Set to Kick Off in February


The starting date has finally been set for the launch of the Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) pilot project. Masterminded by the Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, the project is set to kick off in February. While the pilot was approved back in March, the timeline has only just been announced due to technical issues.

The ZEZ project will see non-zero emission vehicles charged for the use of certain zones in the city centre. The scheme will operate in the city’s “red zone” that includes Bonn Square, St Michael’s Street, Queen Street, Shoe Lane Cornmarket, Ship Street, New Inn Hall Street and a part of Market Street. The charge period will run from 7 am until 7 pm each day. It is expected that the coverage will be widened across the city centre in the future.

Starting December, drivers will be able to apply for discounts and exceptions if they satisfy certain conditions. The scheme will apply to some vehicle users, as well as business owners and residents in the zone.

According to the authorities, the February period has been selected as the start of ZEZ to prevent any potential disruptions in the period just before Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Tom Hayes, cabinet member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said that the period has been chosen due to the fact that businesses had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We want to give Oxford’s economy a helping hand to have the best Christmas possible,” he said.

The Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for travel and development strategy, Duncan Enright, said that poor quality is a big concern for the city. “The Oxford Zero Emission Zone pilot is an important step in tackling these problems, and will make our city centre a cleaner, healthier and more attractive place to live, work, visit and shop,” he said. “It will also mean there is more space for those on foot and bikes, as well as our vital bus and taxi services.”

According to the SUNDT platform for the health-conscious, the project is a definite move in the right direction. “Cars are a cause of dangerous pollutants including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Breathing these over a period of time can have disastrous consequences on our health. It can cause shortness of breath and respiratory conditions, bring on asthma attacks, and irritate the nose, eyes and throat,” they said.